On the final day of the longest election case since the war, both sides made their final submissions to the judge.
The case, at the High Court, was brought by four Tower Hamlets voters concerning last May’s mayoral election in the borough.
The petitioners claimed that mayor Lutfur Rahman and his election agent Alibor Choudhury committed electoral fraud to get Mr Rahman re-elected in 2014. On behalf of the petitioners, Francis Hoar returned on Tuesday to the fact Tower Hamlets First – the party Mr Rahman founded to run for mayor – did not have a bank account.
He said: “Both Mr Raham and Mr Choudhury have wholly failed to say why that was. The only reason why you would not have a bank account is so that you can engage in fraud and in election law expenses offences.”
Responding to this in his submission to the judge, Duncan Penny QC, on behalf of Mr Rahman and Mr Choudhury, said it was not a legal requirement for a party to have a bank account and the petitioners had “an agenda”.
He said: “If this was fraud, it’s the worst fraud I’ve ever known.
“The existence of a bank account is not going to stop you committing fraud,” he added.
Addressing the comments made by Mr Rahman about rival 2014 mayoral candidate, John Biggs, being “institutionally racist”, backed by Mr Choudhury, Mr Hoar said “I’m sure Mr Choudhury regrets saying this now but he is stuck standing by his boss”.
However, Mr Penny claimed the accusations, which the petitioners believe were part of a tactical political smear, were just part of politics and that Mr Biggs “didn’t have the cultural sensitivity” to be the mayor of the borough.
Mr Penny said: “It was a dirty but fair fight.”
Presiding judge, Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey said he did not expect to deliver his verdict until after Easter.